The 44-year-old actress announced the news on the air on Tuesday, and shed tears as she made the announcement. Her co-host Sharon Osbourne, broke down over the news as well, as Gilbert came around the table to hug and comfort her.
Gilbert created the show and also serves as an executive producer. She has been a host since season one of the daytime talk show, which premiered in 2010.
Gilbert said she was leaving the show because she was stretched too thin, between her role on The Conners and taking care of her children -- 4-year-old son Rhodes, whom she shares with songwriter Linda Perry, as well as 14-year-old son Levi and 11-year-old daughter Sawyer from her previous relationship with television producer Allison Adler.
"I've decided that it's time for me to leave the show... I obviously love it here and, like I said, this was extremely difficult," Gilbert said. "Last season I did The Conners and was also producing and I loved it and felt totally empowered but also, if I’m being honest about it, I think my life was slightly out of balance and I wasn't able to spend as much time with my three kids as I'd like, or time for myself. As I continued on, I'm starting to develop more things to produce and I'm having opportunities to act and I'm just feeling like, I don't know how I'm going to do it all. I was looking at the next months and just thinking, there's not time, you know?"
"And I'm looking at even small things in my life, my youngest is 4 years old and I still haven't made his baby book," she continued. "You sit and you think, you know, my daughter's looking at hers last night and I'm like, 'Oh, he’s gonna figure it out soon!' So, just basic life things, but it's difficult because this is a place that I love and I'm extremely happy and I love the hosts, I love the crew, I love the staff. I'm so grateful to the audience for letting me in your homes every day. It’s such an honor and I’m not going anywhere yet, I'll be here the rest of the season. I will come back, I will guest co-host. You're not gonna get rid of me. So I will be around. Thank you so much."
Gilbert's co-hosts, including Sheryl Underwood, Eve and Carrie Ann Inaba, were all emotional as she made the announcement on Tuesday.
"I so didn't want to leave you guys, and that's the hardest part of it," Gilbert said.
Underwood replied, "Your spirit will always be here."
In a statement, Angelica McDaniel, executive vice president of daytime programs for CBS, said Gilbert was always welcome back on The Talk.
"Sara’s passionate vision for a forum in which women on camera and off could celebrate mutual support, emotional growth and everyday achievements was a driving force behind bringing The Talk to air in 2010 as CBS' first daytime talk show," the statement reads. "Her authenticity, compassion, quick wit and drive to succeed led to 9 successful seasons of The Talk, garnering numerous daytime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Show and Outstanding Host. We are thankful that Sara inspired us from the beginning and wish her all the happiness and success on her new journey. She will always be family and, as you know, family can always come by for a Talk."
Last September, one of The Talk's original hosts, Julie Chen, also left the show. Watch the video below for her own emotional announcement.